All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again.@Ecclesiastes 1:7
portrait
John B. Herbert
(1852–1927)

Lau­ra E. Tho­mas, in Gos­pel Ech­oes, ed­it­ed by Ro­bert G. Sta­ples (Os­ka­loo­sa, Iowa: Cen­tral Book Con­cern, 1877), num­ber 58.

Pow­der­horn John B. Her­bert (🔊 pdf nwc).

At my feet there flows a streamlet,
Rippling downward to the sea;
Ever roll its bright waves onward—
Ever singing songs to me;
As the streamlet’s waves are rippling,
Ever downward to the sea—
So mankind is passing swiftly,
Onward to eternity.

Refrain

Ever onward, ever onward,
As the brooklet to the sea—
Men are passing, coming, going,
Swiftly to eternity.

Many a wave goes dancing by me,
Glittering in the noonday light,
Like a thousand molten diamonds
’Round the bend and out of sight.
Others coming, passing, going,
Singing ever o’er and o’er,
Just the tones the first wave whispered,
When it kissed the pebbled shore.

Refrain

Ever our wide land is ringing,
With a joyous, hopeful song—
But the singers sadden, vanish—
Other lips the tones prolong!
Sun-tipped waves are ever flowing,
Onward, downward to the sea;
Men are coming, passing, going,
Onward to eternity.

Refrain